Sunday, May 21, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/22/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Announcements:

Winner of the 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior
courtesy of Random house is:
Mandi S.!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I was talking to an 8th grader about summer reading and she mentioned that she sometimes checks ebooks or audiobooks out from the library on her Chromebook. It reminded me how much I love audiobooks so I went to see what was available. I ended up checking out and listening to All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely and then I also started The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle on the OverDrive app on my phone. Love it! I'm still reading The Hate U Give and loving it. Every book I've picked up lately has been awesome!

Reviewed Last Week:
(The Orphan Island giveaway is still open! Be sure to enter!)
I celebrated getting through stuck at Story Exploratory!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'll keep listening to The Great American Whatever and reading The Hate U Give. It's our last week of school so that's probably all I'll get to this week!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Orphan Island

Thank you to Walden Pond Press
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for providing a copy of the book 
for me to giveaway! (Details below!)

Title: Orphan Island  
Author: Laurel Snyder 
Publisher: Walden Pond Press 
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: From acclaimed author Laurel Snyder comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.
Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known? 
What I Think: If there was ever a book to judge by its over, this would be it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous for an absolutely gorgeous book. I was completely lost in the story and entranced by Jinny and her thoughts as she works to piece together her story on the island and snippets of memories to come up with what comes next. Jinny is so brave and I loved her more and more with every page. But that made the end that much harder. Aren't all endings hard?   
     I left the book thinking about what comes next for Jinny and knowing that so much us unknown but being okay with that. Isn't that how life goes? I mostly feel like I'm playing catch with one of those water snake toys. I'm trying to have fun and go with the flow but at the same time I'm trying desperately to hang onto time that just refuses to stop wiggling or to be captured all while I'm also worried that I'm going to pop it and I'll be drenched and the game will be ruined. Laurel helped me feel like I'm not alone in feeling this way. 
     In looking at Orphan Island as a mentor text, I fell in love with Jinny as much as I fell in love with the island because of Laurel's description. Some books that came to mind as I was reading were Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, The Wild Robot, The Giver, Island of the Blue Dolphins, And Then There Were None and I even thought of the TV show Lost. In each of these, the setting plays such a large role, it's a character in and of itself. And the protagonist has to interact with and act upon the setting as part of moving the story forward. It's neat to think of how the island itself has memories and holds so much knowledge about Jinny and her story but at the same time, it can only tell her much. 
     As a mentor text, I would definitely have writers look at Laurel's description and think about how she connects the description to the setting but also to the character. Ask writers to look at how it's possible to use a description of the setting to describe what a character is feeling. This is an opportunity to look at mood and how a writer can elicit an emotion from a reader using show don't tell. Have writers think about how the setting impacts the mood and spend time describing the setting in order to show how the character is feeling without ever directly telling the reader what emotion is at play. 
Snatch of Text: 
     "Jinny watched the boat disappear. Until all she could see was water and distance. It happened so fast. She found herself standing, reaching out both arms, in the direction the boat had gone. Both hands were outstretched fingers, grasping. As if there was something in the air she might be able to clutch."

     "They sat together. Two sad shapes in the sand. Watching the day sink behind the cloudy sea. The oranges and pinks of the bleeding sunset made their usual swirling patterns above the mist, looping and arching. Tonight the shapes looked like dolphins. Or maybe just waves, calm soft waves. The new girl stared up, her mouth open slightly, saying nothing as she watched the sky shift and dance, a wash of shapes and colors."
Writing Prompt: Write about a time when you took a risk. How did you feel about the unknown-ness of taking a risk? And how can you compare your experience with Jinny's experiences on the island?
Additional Resources: Visit the Harper Collins page for a Teacher's Guide and Reading Guide.


Be sure to visit other stops on the Orphan Island blog tour!
May 15 - Laura Given
May 16 - Pernille Ripp
May 18 - Novel Novice
May 20 - Book Monsters
May 21 - Maria's Melange
May 24 - Nerdy Book Club
May 26 - Kirby Larson


Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/15/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I loved reading 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior and more of The Hate U Give. It was a more stressful week than I anticipated but I did get some reading in!

Reviewed Last Week:
(The 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior giveaway is still open! Be sure to enter!)

Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'll be zoning in on The Hate U Give. I've been going through books I've read on Good Reads looking for recommendations for a student and a friend and it's been so fun! I realized I haven't been as good at keeping up with posting there though so I need to get back into the habit of that! Peanut got Kim Baker's Pickle as his birthday book this week so I'm excited to read that with him.

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five Worlds: The Sand Warrior Blog Tour

Thank you to Random House
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for providing a copy of the book 
for me to giveaway! (Details below!)

Title: Five Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior
Author: Mark and Alexis Siegel 
Illustrator: Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, Boya Sun
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017 
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Graphic Novel 
GoodReads Summary: The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves—and more to their worlds—than meets the eye. . . .

   • The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine. 

   • A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations. 

   • Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?  

When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

What I Think: This is a book of problem solving and perseverance but it's also about friendship and believing in yourself. I love all the different characters and how they come together. What really stood out to me about this book as a mentor text is that the characters have depth to them but it's pretty easy to see this so it makes a good text for a character study but also for thinking about how a writer might add depth to his or her own character. As a mentor text, I would have students look at Ooona, An Tzu, and Jax and make a chart the outlines each of the goals, conflicts, and motivation in the story. Then writers can think about their own characters and whether they have similar agency as Oona, An Tzu, and Jax in The Sand Warrior. Another element to look at would be how each has internal and external goals, conflicts, and motivation. Making sure characters have something that propels them forward it part of writing a good story that readers want to read. It's not easy but it's nice to have mentor texts that gives us examples to go off of. 
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when you didn't believe in yourself but a friend helped you persevere.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Caring For Your Lion

Title: Caring For Your Lion
Author: Tammi Sauer 
Illustrator: Troy Cummings 
Publisher: Sterling Books 
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: What happens when you expect an itty-bitty kitty . . . but get a lion instead?
It’s kitten delivery day, but—SURPRISE. Congratulations on your new LION! We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those. Fortunately, the big cat comes with instructions—like, try very hard NOT to look like a zebra. Or a gazelle. And give your lion PLENTY of space to play. But soon the feathers and fur start flying and everything’s in chaos. Is there any way a lion could actually be a child’s purr-fect pet?  
What I Think: In high school, I had to write put a twist on a How-To piece and I wrote all about how to get kicked out of a movie theater (I might have gone with a bunch of friends to see a movie and we may have been a bit loud...although we never got kicked out). Anyway, it was fun to come up with a way to spin a traditional How-To piece and add some voice and pizzazz to it. As I was reading Caring For Your Lion, I thought about that assignment because this book explains step by step directions for having a lion as a pet. As you can imagine, it's a lot of work! This book is super fun and a great example of a mentor text that might get some creative juices flowing!
     On another note, this is also a book that deserves a good close read. There are so many things to notice in the illustrations that students will be able to recognize how the text and illustrators work together and gather evidence of their inferences. Make sure to really look at the illustrations - and the undies! - to catch all the ways the illustrations support the text.  
Snatch of Text: 
"Step 3: Try very hard NOT to look like a zebra. Or a gazelle Or a bunny." 
Writing Prompt: Write your own twisty-turny How-To piece!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/08/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Announcements:
Winner of the The Case of the Stinky Stench
courtesy of Sterling Books is:
Kim Myers!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read more of The Hate U Give and also finished March: Book Two. We're going to see John Lewis and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'll be reading more of The Hate U Give and I'll be reading The Sand Warrior to review at the end of the week. I'm also planning to read March: Book Three...it's the long one but I'd love to finish before we go hear John Lewis on Tuesday night.

At the book fair last week, Peanut and I found a book that shared 100 books kids should read and we were looking to see which books he's read and which we should add to our list. I have a whole list of books we're hoping to read this summer. It was so fun to plan with him! I think he liked that there were definitely a lot of books listed that we have already read. We have three weeks of school left and then I'm really looking forward to reading and writing, especially because Teachers Write will be back! It's year number five! How awesome is that?! Here's the link to sign up!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Little Fox in the Forest

Title: Little Fox in the Forest 
Author: Stephanie Graigin 
Illustrator: Stephanie Graigin 
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Wordless/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: A wordless picture book in which two friends follow a young fox deep into the woods and discover a wondrous and magical world. 
When a young girl brings her beloved stuffed fox to the playground, much to her astonishment, a real fox takes off with it! The girl chases the fox into the woods with her friend, the boy, following close behind, but soon the two children lose track of the fox. Wandering deeper and deeper into the forest, they come across a tall hedge with an archway. What do they find on the other side? A marvelous village of miniature stone cottages, tiny treehouses, and, most extraordinary of all, woodland creatures of every shape and size. But where is the little fox? And how will they find him?
What I Think: I'm such a fan of wordless picture books, in fact I've blogged about my favorite wordless picture books before and now I can add Little Fox in the Forest to the list. This book reminded me a bit of Aaron Becker's Journey and Mo Willem's Knufflebunny Free but with it's own story and certain charm. I absolutely love how the story goes from shades of blue and white to vibrant color. 
     I've decided the story sits perfectly in the realm of picture book magic. As I'm thinking about this, Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward comes to mind too. Please Bring Balloons, Journey, and Little Fox in the Forest are stories where kids go off on adventures and then come back to their reality at the beginning...but something is just a bit different. It's picture book magic! It's the moment of knowing it was all in the character's imagination...except for that one element that made it back into their "real" world. I love this. This is a perfect example of how a book can elicit different responses from different readers. I think younger kids might accept the story as a story but older students can start to think about what exactly this idea of picture book magic is all about and how it might even connect with their own lives.
     As a mentor text, wordless picture books are a wonderful way to get writers started. Using the story as inspiration, writers can describe one drawing or tell the entire story. The great thing is the story is there, we just have to find the words to bring it to life. As a close read, wordless picture books are perfect for finding evidence to support your thinking. There are so many ways to interpret what's happening in the story and students can think about using evidence to defend what they have inferred from the illustrations.
Writing Prompt: Write about what similarities and differences you notice between Little Fox in the Forest and Journey and/or Please Bring Balloons.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/01/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read more of Clash: How to Thrive in a Multicultural World, March: Book Two, and started The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Reviewed Last Week:
(The Stinky Stench giveaway is still open! Be sure to enter!)
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week we're finishing up our book study of Book Love so I'll be rereading the last few chapters. I'm also planning to finish March: Book Two, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Peanut and I are going to hear John Lewis speak next week and we're super excited!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Wonder Revisited

Five years ago I fell in love with a book. Yes, I happen to fall in love with books quite often, but still, this was a very special book. That book was RJ Palacio's Wonder. Kellee and I reviewed it here on the blog but I shared why I love Wonder so much in my blog post: Wonder Reminds Us That Kindness Makes the World Go Round.
I can't believe it's been five years since I fell in love with this book. I've recommended it to so many people and last year my oldest son and I read it together. I've waited five years to read it with him and I'm so glad he loved it as much as I did. In fact, his fourth grade class is reading it aloud now and it makes my heart so happy to know that the kids in class get to know Auggie and his story.

When I was a teacher, I worked with kids who were deaf or hard of hearing like Auggie. Sharing Auggie's story with my student Michelle was one of the best experiences of my teaching career. I loved sharing books with students and getting them excited about books I thought they might like but connecting Michelle to Wonder changed my life.
So often we talk about books being mirrors and windows and doors and Wonder was such a book for Michelle and her family. I'll never forget listening to Michelle's mother tell RJ Palacio how she did such a good job of bringing Auggie's story to life that it felt so similar Michelle's life. That experience will forever remind me how important it is to know students, know books, and connect them to each other.

Michelle was recently interviewed by Chris Ulmer from Special Books By Special Kids. He originally hoped to publish a book of kids with special needs and their stories but has shifted instead to video interviews that he shares on his website, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Here's Michelle's interview! I'm so lucky to know Michelle and I love that more people will get to know her thanks to Chris and his work. She is as absolutely awesome in this video as in real life. She's just so fun. I love watching Michelle's interview and the other videos Chris posts and I hope you enjoy them too. Every time I watch one of the videos, I remember how amazing life is and how we each have something to offer to this swiftly spinning world.
Also, in case you missed it, the movie Wonder will be out this fall. If you haven't read the book yet, now is a great time so you can read it before the movie! And if you have read it, do you still love it five years later just like me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Case Of The Stinky Stench

Thank you to Sterling Books
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for providing a copy of the book 
for me to giveaway! (Details below!)


Title: The Case of The Stinky Stench
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Brendan Kearney
Publisher: Sterling Books 
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: 
"Uncle,” Croissant said, “the fridge is in trouble! 
A mystery stench turned a whole shelf to rubble! 
I’m the last hope or the fridge will be lost! 
Help me or else we’ll be cooked, served, and sauced.” 

There’s a stinky stench in the fridge—and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Sir French Toast’s nephew, Inspector Croissant, begs him and Lady Pancake for help in finding the source of the foul odor. Could it be the devious Baron Von Waffle? A fetid fish lurking in the bottom of Corn Chowder Lake? Featuring the same delectable wordplay and delicious art that won critical raves for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast—there’s even an actual red herring—his fun follow-up is an absolutely tasty treat for kids!What I Think: Today at our book fair, I was just talking to a student who really enjoyed a mystery chapter book she read and we started talking about mysteries and what we love about them. She said the whole time she was reading, she couldn't wait to find out who the mystery person was. Mysteries capture our attention and our brains can't help but want to find out whodunit. And this is exactly what you'll get with The Case of The Stinky Stench! Josh funk took his super fun character from Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and gave them a mystery to help with. With so many fun fridge friends, readers will be guessing the whole time as they try and figure out where the stink is coming from.
     I love introducing elements of mysteries to readers and this book is a great mentor text for looking at mystery story elements. Once a reader can recognize elements of a mystery, he or she can start to write his or her own mystery. My favorite was the red herring!
     And, of course, Josh uses rhyme throughout the book so it's another opportunity to look at how rhyme works and to listen for rhythm because of it as well. As a listening activity, you can ask students to listen for rhyming words as you read, ask students to write down rhyming words when they see them, or give students a word bank and have them listen for the rhyming words they hear in the story as you go along.
Snatch of Text:  
"'I've got to succeed,' said Croissant with a sob.
'I've solved zero cases since getting this job.'"
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when you had to solve a mystery. Write about a time when you wanted to give up like French Toast. What did you do and how did you decide to handle the situation?